Harold: This Insane Englishman

King Edward (who became known as 'the Confessor', and was canonised in 1161) died, childless, on 5th January 1066. He was buried in his, newly consecrated, Westminster Abbey on the 6th January.

Edward's body is carried to Westminster Abbey, as depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry.

THE ENGLISH VERSION

"After his [Edward's] interment, the subregulus Harold, son of earl Godwin [Godwine], whom the king had nominated as his successor, was elected king by the chief nobles of all England; and on the same day was crowned with great ceremony by Aldred [Ealdred], archbishop of York."

According to the 'Vita Ædwardi Regis', Edward, on his deathbed, said to Harold:

"I commend this woman [Queen Edith] and all the kingdom to your protection."

THE NORMAN VERSION

"... unexpectedly there came a true report, the land of England was bereft of her king Edward, and his crown was worn by Harold. Not for this insane Englishman the decision of a public choice, but, on that sorrowful day when the best of kings was buried and the whole nation mourned his passing, he seized the royal throne with the plaudits of certain iniquitous supporters and thereby perjured himself. He was made king by the unholy consecration of Stigand, who had been deprived of his ministry by the justified fervour of papal anathema."
Ealdred was archbishop of York. He had received his pallium from Pope Nicholas II, in 1061 (albeit in somewhat bizarre circumstances). Stigand was archbishop of Canterbury. However, he had been given this position (he also retained the see of Winchester) when his predecessor Robert of Jumièges had been outlawed, and fled, in 1052. The irregularity of these circumstances meant that his appointment was not recognised by Rome until 1058, and then only by the antipope Benedict X. When Benedict was deposed (by Pope Nicholas II, 1058-61), Stigand became, once more, persona non grata, but remained in office. It seems reasonable to suppose that both archbishops officiated at Harold's coronation.

Norman sources assert that Edward had previously promised that Duke William II of Normandy (William 'the Bastard') would be his successor:

"Edward ... gratefully remembering with what generous munificence, what singular honour, what affectionate intimacy, prince William had treated him in Normandy, by all of which he was even more closely bound to the duke than by the ties of kinship; nay more, remembering also with what zeal the duke had helped to restore him from exile to his kingdom, determined as a matter of honour to repay him in equal measure - and as an appropriate gift resolved to make him the heir of the crown obtained by his efforts."
William of Poitiers
"Edward ... lacking an heir, had formerly sent Robert archbishop of Canterbury to the duke to nominate him as the heir to the kingdom which God had given him. Furthermore he afterwards sent to the duke Harold, the greatest of all the earls of his dominions in riches, honour and power, that he should swear fealty to him concerning Edward's crown and confirm it with Christian oaths. Harold hastening to fulfil this mission, crossed the narrow seas ..."

The two Norman claims - that Edward nominated William as his heir, and that Harold travelled to Normandy and swore allegiance to William - are not mentioned at all in English annals, and the Norman sources do not provide dates.

Of the three manuscripts of the 'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle', Manuscript D alone had reported a visit to see Edward, in England, by Duke William ("Willelm eorl"), apparently towards the end of 1051. Assuming the visit did actually happen, it could have been then that William was designated as Edward's heir. Harold's journey to Normandy can really only fit into 1064 (despite the suggestion of Norman sources that Edward was close to death at the time) - a year for which the 'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' has no entries.

Even the earliest Norman accounts of Harold's journey do not fully agree. The Bayeux Tapestry begins with Harold departing from King Edward, riding to Bosham (he is depicted at the head of his retinue with hawk on arm and hounds in front), and thence crossing the Channel "with his sails filled by the wind". He makes landfall in Ponthieu, and is promptly taken into custody by Count Guy of Ponthieu. The Tapestry doesn't indicate why Harold landed in Ponthieu, and William of Jumièges gives no reason, but William of Poitiers writes:

"He [Harold] and his companions were imprisoned, a misfortune which for so great a man was even worse than staying at sea in the storm."  Note 01

At any rate, Duke William heard of Harold's plight, and obtained his release. William of Jumièges, briskly, states:

"Harold remained with the duke for some time, and swore fealty concerning the kingdom with many oaths, before being sent back to the king laden with gifts."

William of Poitiers says that William took Harold to Rouen, where he was treated with "generous hospitality". Then:

"At a council convened at Bonneville [Bonneville-sur-Touques] Harold publicly swore fealty to him by the sacred rite of Christians."

In return, William, at Harold's request, confirmed that he (Harold) would retain his "lands and powers". William of Poitiers maintains that he has it on the authority of reliable witnesses that Harold volunteered to act on William's behalf at Edward's court ("as long as the latter lived"); that he would fortify Dover castle ("at his own expense"), and give it over to Norman knights - he would also build, and provision, castles in any other part of England that the duke required; finally, he promised that, when Edward died:

"... he would strive with all his influence and power to bring about the succession of the English kingdom to William ..."
The Bayeux tapestry pictures a mustachioed Harold, hands resting on reliquaries, swearing "an oath to Duke William".  Note 04

In William of Poitiers' sequence of events, Harold then accompanies William on campaign against Duke Conan of Brittany. In the version of events illustrated by the Bayeux Tapestry, however (Note 02), the campaign in Brittany precedes Harold's oath - further, it is at Bayeux that Harold takes his oath.  Note 03

In the Tapestry, after swearing his oath, Harold returns to England and reports to King Edward. In William of Poitiers' version, Harold and Duke William return from Brittany:

"... the duke kept his favoured guest with him a little longer before letting him go, laden with gifts which were worthy both of him by whose command he had come [i.e. Edward] and of him whose honour he had come to augment [i.e. William]. In addition, his nephew, one of the two hostages, was released for his sake to return with him."

The two hostages held by William were Harold's nephew, Hakon, and youngest brother, Wulfnoth. William of Poitiers says that they:

"... had been accepted as hostages for the duke's succession."

Later, William of Poitiers puts words into Duke William's mouth:

"... as he [Edward] believed me the most worthy of all his race so also he held me the most able both to support him while he lived and to govern the kingdom after his death. Assuredly this was not done without the consent of his magnates, but with the counsel of Archbishop Stigand and of earl Godwine [of Wessex], earl Leofric [of Mercia] and earl Siward [of Northumbria] , all of whom confirmed by oath and pledge of hands that after Edward's death they would receive me as lord, nor during his lifetime would they seek in any way whatever to prevent my succession to this country. He [Edward] gave me as hostages the son and grandson of Godwine. Finally, he sent Harold himself to Normandy, that he might swear in my presence what his father and the other aforesaid magnates had sworn in my absence."  Note 05
In the above quote, William of Poitiers mentions "Archbishop Stigand". Stigand did not become archbishop of Canterbury until after September 1052 - when Godwine's family were restored to power and there was a purge of Edward's Norman followers. It seems highly improbable, therefore, that Godwine would be supporting the nomination of William of Normandy as Edward's heir. It seems equally improbable that he would have let his son and grandson to be sent to Normandy. However, according to Eadmer, the hostages were given to King Edward, as a condition of the peace agreement between the king and Earls Godwine and Harold, in September 1052. Having been handed over, Hakon and Swein "were despatched to Normandy to the guardianship of Duke William".  If any credence is to be attached to William of Poitier's assertion, that the English magnates agreed to Duke William being designated Edward's heir, then it must, surely, belong before September 1051 - the confrontation which resulted in the Godwine family's exile. Similarly, it seems much more likely that Hakon and Wulfnoth were handed to Edward in September 1051, and taken to Normandy before Godwine's restoration the following September. Who knows, maybe they were given to William himself, during his visit to England, later in 1051.

Orderic Vitalis asserts that Harold, on his return to England, gave an account of his time in Normandy to the "grievously ill and near to death" King Edward:

"... but then added falsely that William of Normandy had given him his daughter to wife and granted him as his son-in-law all his rights in the English kingdom. Though the sick monarch was amazed, nevertheless he believed the story and gave his approval to the cunning tyrant's wishes."

It is a reasonable assumption that Harold did, probably in 1064, fetch up in Normandy, and swore an oath of some kind to William ....

The anonymous author of the 'Vita Ædwardi Regis', in connection with another matter, had noted that Harold was "rather too generous with oaths (alas!)".

.... but the reason he was there and the circumstances which required him to swear the oath are very much open to debate. There is no indisputable evidence that King Edward actually wanted William to be his successor. Indeed, in 1057, another Edward, the exiled son of Edmund 'Ironside', had arrived in England at the request of King Edward, who "had determined to make him heir to the kingdom", says Florence of Worcester. Although Edward himself had died very soon after his arrival in England, he left a young son, Edgar (known as Edgar 'the Ætheling').

According to Adam of Bremen, King Edward, at the beginning of his reign, had promised Swein Estrithson (Swein II), king of Denmark, that, even if he had sons of his own, Swein would be his heir (King Swein himself was one of Adam's sources of information). Moreover, when Edward had succeeded Harthacnut to the throne of England, in 1042, the then king of Norway, Magnus 'the Good' (Magnus I), believed that he, himself, was the rightful successor. Up to his death, in 1047, there was an ever present threat that Magnus would launch an invasion of England. Fortunately, Magnus' contentions with Swein Estrithson prevented the threatened invasion from materialising.

When King Edward died childless, on 5th January 1066, it must have seemed plausible that Magnus' successor in Norway, Harald 'Hardrada' ('Stern Council', i.e. 'the Ruthless' - Harald III), who was now at peace with Swein, would press a claim to the throne. Further, Tostig Godwinesson (Harold's brother), erstwhile earl of Northumbria, had been outlawed towards the end of the previous year, and it was likely he would attempt to force (at least) the restoration of his position. With this background it was, perhaps, inevitable that Harold Godwinesson, earl of Wessex, was duly chosen to be king.

In 'Anglo-Saxon England', Sir Frank Stenton avers: "There was an overwhelming case for giving the name and authority of a king to the one Englishman who had shown the ability to plan and carry out a campaign. King Edward himself realized at the end that the claim of his young kinsman Edgar, 'the Ætheling', must give way to military necessities."

It appears that the Northumbrians, having recently overthrown Earl Tostig, were somewhat reluctant to accept his brother, Harold, as king. To win them over, Harold visited Northumbria with Bishop Wulfstan of Worcester:

"The report of Wulfstan's holiness had reached even the most remote peoples, and he was thought capable of softening any and every arrogance. Things turned out in such a way as to confirm this view; the Northumbrians, unconquerable in war, and as spirited as their ancestors had always been, made no difficulty about giving way to Harold's rule out of respect for the bishop."

It was probably at the start of his reign that Harold married Ealdgyth, the sister of Earls Edwin (of Mercia) and Morcar (Tostig's replacement in Northumbria).

Ealdgyth was the widow of, Welsh king, Gruffudd ap Llywelyn. Gruffudd had been killed on 5th August 1063. Harold could have married her at any time since, but it seems reasonable to assume this allegiance between England's premier families belongs to the time of Harold's accession to the throne.
"On taking the helm of the kingdom, he [Harold] immediately began to abolish unjust laws and make good ones; to patronise churches and monasteries; to pay particular attention and yield reverence to bishops, abbots, monks, and clerks; to show himself pious, humble, and affable to all good men: but he treated malefactors with the utmost severity, and gave general orders to his earls, ealdormen, sheriffs, and thegns to imprison all thieves, robbers, and disturbers of the kingdom; and he himself laboured by sea and by land for the protection of his country."
Florence of Worcester
"Duke William took counsel with his vassals and determined to avenge wrong by arms and in arms to claim his inheritance, although many magnates argued persuasively against the enterprise as too hazardous and far beyond the resources of Normandy... Yet we learn that in all deliberations everyone gave way to the wisdom of the prince, as if he knew in advance by divine inspiration what should and should not be done... There is not space to relate in detail how he carefully organized the building of ships and their fitting out with arms and men, provisions and all other necessities of war, and how the enthusiasm of all Normandy was kindled. Nor did he take less care over the government and security of Normandy in his absence. A large force of volunteers also assembled from other lands, partly attracted by the well known liberality of the duke but all confident in the justice of his cause."
William of Poitiers

To reinforce "the justice of his cause", Duke William sought, and received, the blessing of Pope Alexander II (1061-73), who sent him a papal banner to carry into battle. He also secured a promise of assistance, if requested, from Henry IV (German king 1056, crowned Holy Roman Emperor 1084, d.1105), and, says William of Poitiers:

"Swein king of the Danes pledged his faith through envoys, but showed himself rather the faithful supporter of his [William's] enemies ..."

Now, according to Snorri Sturluson ('Heimskringla'), Tostig, Harold's exiled younger brother, went to Denmark and tried to persuade King Swein to assist him in the recovery of his lands. Instead, Swein offered Tostig an earldom in Denmark. Tostig replied:

"My inclination is to go back to my estate in England; but if I cannot get help from you for that purpose, I will agree to help you with all the power I can command in England, if you will go there with the Danish army, and win the country, as Cnut, your mother's brother, did."

Swein, however, declined Tostig's proposal, saying that he was "so much smaller a man" than Cnut, and it was all he could manage to defend Denmark. Disappointed by Swein's reaction, Tostig moved on to Norway. He found King Harald Hardrada indifferent to his plight; but then Tostig reminded Harald that his predecessor, Magnus, believed he had made an agreement with Hardecnut which gave him a claim to the English throne. Tostig convinced Harald that, although Magnus had not been able to pursue his claim, with Tostig's assistance, England was ripe for Harald's picking:

"Then King Harald and the earl talked long and frequently together; and at last he took the resolution to proceed in summer to England, and conquer the country... Earl Tostig sailed in spring west to Flanders, to meet the people who had left England with him, and others besides who had gathered to him both out of England and Flanders."

Snorri Sturluson and Orderic Vitalis both, incorrectly, say that Tostig was the elder brother. Both are also incorrect in believing that Tostig was obliged to leave England after Harold became king. Orderic Vitalis, however, claims that Tostig:

"... hurried to Normandy, boldly rebuked Duke William for allowing his perjured vassal [i.e. Harold] to rule, and swore that he would faithfully secure the crown for him if he would cross to England with a Norman army."
Tostig and William were related by marriage. Tostig was married to Judith, who was a half-sister (it is believed) of Count Baldwin V of Flanders. William was married to Matilda, who was Count Baldwin's daughter.

Whilst William was formulating his invasion plans:

"... Tostig gained the dukes's permission to return to England, and promised faithfully that he and all his friends would give him every assistance."

Tostig found the English coast too heavily defended to attempt a landing, and he was prevented from returning to Normandy by unfavourable winds. Having been buffeted about by contrary weather, Tostig ended up in Norway:

"As he was well received by the king and saw that he could not possibly fulfil the promises he had made to Duke William, he changed his plans ..."

Tostig told Harald:

"... I seek help from you as your liegeman, knowing that you have a strong army and every military virtue. Destroy my brother's upstart strength in war, keep half England for yourself, and let me have the other half to hold as your faithful vassal as long as I live."

Harald took the bait, and began to make his invasion plans.

The Battle of Stamford Bridge

The 'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle', Manuscripts C and D:

1066  "This year came King Harold from York to Westminster, on the Easter succeeding the midwinter when the king [Edward] died. Easter was then on the sixteenth day before the calends of May [16th April]. Then was over all England such a token seen as no man ever saw before. Some men said that it was the comet-star, which others denominate the long-hair'd star. It appeared first on the eve called 'Litania major', that is, on the eighth before the calends of May [24th April]; and so shone all the week. Soon after this came in Earl Tostig from beyond sea into the Isle of Wight, with as large a fleet as he could get; and he was there supplied with money and provisions."

Manuscript C continues:

"Thence he proceeded, and committed outrages everywhere by the sea-coast where he could land, until he came to Sandwich....
Geffrei Gaimar provides details not found elsewhere. He says that Tostig arrived: "... with many powerful people, the greater part were Flemings. They arrived at Wardstane; all that country they laid waste, and killed many men. They went into the isle of Thanet; in that country Copsi [Copsig] came to meet him ... He came from the isle of Orkney, seventeen ships, he had in his keeping."
.... When it was told King Harold, who was in London, that his brother Tostig was come to Sandwich, he gathered so large a force, naval and military, as no king before collected in this land; for it was credibly reported that Earl William from Normandy, King Edward's kinsman, would come hither and gain this land; just as it afterwards happened....
It would seem that Harold regarded Tostig's arrival as a precursor to Duke William's invasion.
.... When Tostig understood that King Harold was on the way to Sandwich, he departed thence, and took some of the boatmen with him, willing and unwilling, and went north ..."
"... they went into Brunemue, and confounded this country. Great injury and great grief they caused here and everywhere else. Then ..."
Gaimar
"... came Tostig the earl into Humber with sixty ships ..."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript D
"... and there ravaged in Lindsey, and there slew many good men."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript C
"Earl Edwin [of Mercia], with a great host, came quickly into Lindsey, and afterwards defended this country from them; but they had already done much mischief in it. Earl Morkar [Morcar, of Northumbria, Edwin's brother], on the other side [of the Humber], defended his land ... the Flemings, when they saw him, stole away, and failed Tosti [Tostig]; they went into their country laden with the plunder of the unfortunate Englishmen."
Gaimar
"... Edwin the earl and Morcar the earl ... drove him [Tostig] out of the land."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript C
"... and the boatmen forsook him. And he went to Scotland with twelve small vessels ..."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript D
"... and the king of Scots [Malcolm III 'Canmore'] protected him, and assisted him with provisions; and he there abode all the summer."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript C
Gaimar says that Malcolm "honoured earl Tosti much, and presented him with beautiful gifts".

Meanwhile, in anticipation of William's invasion, Harold had waited in Sandwich whilst his ships were collected:

"And when his fleet was gathered together, then went he into the Isle of Wight, and there lay all the summer and the harvest; and a land-force was kept everywhere by the sea ....
Presumably referring to a naval skirmish which took place around this time, Manuscript E of the 'Chronicle' notes that Harold "went out with a fleet against William". The 'Domesday Book' mentions that one Ăthelric, lord of Kelvedon in Essex, "went away to a naval battle against King William and when he returned he fell ill."
.... though in the end it was of no benefit. When it was the Nativity of St. Mary [8th September], then were the men's provisions gone, and no man could any longer keep them there. Then were the men allowed to go home, and the king rode up, and the ships were dispatched to London; and many perished before they came thither."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript C

Duke William's invasion force, which had been assembled in the Dives estuary, had been pinned down by unfavourable winds for about a month. Harold may well have been aware of William's situation, since according to William of Poitiers he "cunningly sent over spies", but, it must be assumed, he had no alternative other than to stand-down his forces. Around the 12th September William took advantage of a westerly wind (perhaps the same wind responsible for the loss of so many of Harold's ships) to move his fleet to St.Valery, at the mouth of the Somme, thereby greatly reducing the Channel crossing to England. He, once more, waited for the weather to change in his favour. In the meantime, Harald Hardrada, king of Norway, had sailed to:

"... Orkney, from whence he took with him a great armed force, and the earls Paul and Erlend, the sons of Earl Thorfinn ..."
"... then came Harald, King of Norway, north into the Tyne, unawares, with a very great sea-force - no small one ..."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript C
There is a space in MS C where the size of Harald's fleet should be. MS D and MS E put it at three hundred ships, whereas Florence of Worcester has "more than five hundred large ships". In the 'Heimskringla', Snorri Sturluson had mentioned that, at the time of his departure from Norway, "King Harald had nearly 200 ships beside provision-ships and small craft".
"And Earl Tostig came to him with all those that he had got; just as they had before said ..."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript C
MS C and Florence agree that Tostig joined forces with Harald on the Tyne. According to MS D, Harald met Tostig in Scotland, and Tostig submitted to Harald. (MS E is similar, though that it was in Scotland where Harald joined Tostig is implicit rather than explicit). Gaimar states that it was in Scotland where Harald joined Tostig, but says that, far from Tostig submitting to Harald, they agreed "that whatever they conquered together, they would divide all equally". In two manuscripts of 'L'Estoire des Engleis' the size of the combined fleet appears as four hundred and seventy ships, whereas in the other two it appears as four hundred and sixty.
"Then he [Harald Hardrada] sailed, leaving Scotland and England westward of him, and landed at a place called Klifland [Cleveland]. There he went on shore and plundered, and brought the country in subjection to him without opposition. Then he brought up at Skardaburg [Scarborough], and fought with the people of the place. He went up a hill which is there, and made a great pile upon it, which he set on fire; and when the pile was in clear flame, his men took large forks and pitched the burning wood down into the town, so that one house caught fire after the other, and the town surrendered. The Northmen killed many people there and took all the booty they could lay hold of. There was nothing left for the Englishmen now, if they would preserve their lives, but to submit to King Harald; and thus he subdued the country wherever he came. Then the king proceeded south along the land, and brought up at Hellornes [Holderness], where there came a force that had been assembled to oppose him, with which he had a battle, and gained the victory."
'Heimskringla'
"They [Harald Hardrada and Tostig] hastened their course and entered the river Humber, and then sailing up the river Ouse against the stream, landed at a place called Richale [Riccall]....
The 'Chronicle' manuscripts do not name the landing place. Symeon of Durham agrees with Florence of Worcester that it was Riccall - about 10 miles/16 Kilometres south of York. Gaimar, however, says that they "disembarked at Saint Wilfrid's" - possibly a reference to Brayton, near Selby, which has a church dedicated to St.Wilfrid. In any case, the number of ships involved must have occupied a considerable stretch of river.  (Map)
.... King Harold [Godwinesson], on hearing this, marched in haste towards Northumbria ..."
Florence of Worcester
"... went he northward, day and night, as quickly as he could gather his forces."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript C
"... but before his arrival the two brothers, earls Eadwin [Edwin] and Morcar, at the head of a large army, fought a battle with the Norwegians on the northern bank of the river Ouse near York, on Wednesday, being the vigil of the feast-day of St.Matthew the Apostle [20th September], and they fought so bravely at the onset that many of the enemy were overthrown. But after a long contest the English were unable to withstand the attacks of the Norwegians, and fled with great loss; and more were drowned in the river than slain in the field. The Norwegians remained masters of the field of carnage ..."
Florence of Worcester  Note 06
Symeon of Durham and Gaimar are the only sources to name the battle-site. They agree it was at Fulford (about 2 miles/3 kilometres south of York). Henry of Huntingdon notes that: "The site of this battle is still pointed out on the south side of the city."  (Map)

'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle', Manuscript C:

"And then, after the fight, went Harald, King of Norway, and Tostig the earl, into York, with as many followers as they thought fit. And they [the citizens of York] delivered hostages to them from the city ....
'Heimskringla': "... the children of the most considerable persons; for Earl Toste [Tostig] was well acquainted with all the people of that town."
.... and also assisted them with provisions; and so they went thence to their ships ....
Florence of Worcester: "... having taken one hundred and fifty hostages from York, and leaving there one hundred and fifty of their own men as hostages, they [the Norwegians] went to their ships."
.... and they agreed upon a full peace, on condition that all [the men of York] would go southward with them, and this land subdue. In the midst of this came Harold, king of the English, with all his army, on the Sunday [24th September], to Tadcaster, and there collected his fleet ....
Tadcaster is 9 miles/14.5 kilometres south-west of York, on the river Wharfe. Sir Frank Stenton ('Anglo-Saxon England') suggests that the local English fleet had been driven, by Harald and Tostig's advancing ships, up the Ouse and along the Wharfe. He further speculates that the Norwegian fleet had moored at Riccall, some 3 miles/5 kilometres below the Wharfe and Ouse confluence, in order to "immobilize" the English vessels.   (Map)
.... and went then on Monday [25th September] right throughout York; and Harald, King of Norway, and Tostig the earl, and their forces, were gone from their ships beyond York to Stamford Bridge, because it had been promised them for a certainty, that there, from all the shire, hostages should be brought to meet them."
Stamford Bridge is on the river Derwent, some 8 miles/13 kilometres eastwards from York.  (Map)
"Then Harold our king came upon the Norwegians by surprise and met them beyond York at Stamford Bridge with a large force of the English people; and that day there was a very fierce fight on both sides."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' Manuscript D (This passage from Dorothy Whitelock's edition)

A later, 12th century, hand has appended an anecdote to Manuscript C of the 'Chronicle':

"Then was there one of the Norwegians who withstood the English people, so that they might not pass over the bridge, nor obtain the victory....
Henry of Huntingdon asserts that: "... felling more than forty Englishmen with his trusty axe, he alone held up the entire English army until three o'clock in the afternoon."
....Then an Englishman aimed at him with a javelin, but availed nothing; and then came another under the bridge, and pierced him terribly inwards under the coat of mail. Then came Harold, king of the English, over the bridge, and his forces onward with him, and there made great slaughter, as well of Norwegians as of Flemings."

'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle', Manuscript D:

"There was slain Harald the Fair-hair'd and Earl Tostig, and the Norwegians that were left fled from the English, who slew them hotly behind; until some came to their ships, some were drowned, some burned to death, and thus variously destroyed; so that there was little left: and the English gained possession of the field....
William of Malmesbury: "His [Tostig's] body being known by a wart between the shoulders, obtained burial at York."
.... The king gave quarter to Olaf, the Norwegian king's son, and to their bishop, and to the earl of the Orkneys ....
Florence of Worcester: "... Paul, earl of Orkney, who had been sent off with a portion of the army to guard the fleet ..."
.... and to all those that were left in the ships; who then went up to our king, and took oaths that they would ever maintain faith and friendship unto this land. Whereupon the King let them go home with twenty-four ships."
Florence of Worcester says that Harold also took hostages, but puts the number of ships that were allowed to depart at twenty (as do Symeon of Durham and Gaimar).  Note 07

Orderic Vitalis comments:

"Travellers cannot fail to recognize the field, for a great mountain of dead men's bones still lies there and bears witness to the terrible slaughter on both sides."

Given that the Norwegian invaders arrived with upwards of three hundred ships and the survivors left in just twenty or so, the scale of the English victory is apparent. However, Harold did not have long to rest on his laurels.

Translations:
'Vita Ădwardi Regis' by Frank Barlow
Wace 'Roman de Rou' by Edgar Taylor
Snorri Sturluson 'Heimskringla' by Samuel Laing
Orderic Vitalis 'Historia Ecclesiastica' by Marjorie Chibnall
Guernes 'La Vie de Saint Thomas le Martyr' Susan Murray
Eadmer 'Historia Novorum in Anglia' by Geoffrey Bosanquet
Henry of Huntingdon 'Historia Anglorum' by Diana Greenway
Geffrei Gaimar 'L'Estoire des Engleis' by Rev. Joseph Stevenson
William of JumiŔges 'Gesta Normannorum Ducum' by R. Allen Brown
William of Malmesbury 'Vita Wulfstani' by M. Winterbottom and R.M. Thomson
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' by Rev. James Ingram/Dr. J.A. Giles (unless otherwise stated)
William of Malmesbury 'Gesta Regum Anglorum' by Rev. J. Sharpe, revised by Rev. J. Stevenson
Florence of Worcester 'Chronicon ex Chronicis' edited and in part translated by Joseph Stevenson
William of Poitiers 'Gesta Guillelmi ducis Normannorum et regis Anglorum' by Raymonde Foreville/R. Allen Brown